WINDHOEK– During peak hours in the city bustle, Justy Shilunga juggled deliveries of lunch packs to clients in the Namibian capital of Windhoek.
She runs Hot Sauce Cafe, a catering business that provides meals and various delicacies to individuals and corporate functions.
“Not delivering the food on time means I could face the possibility of hunger. I cannot fail,” Shilunga told Xinhua on Wednesday.
As Namibia joined the rest of the world to observe International Women’s Day, local women continue to step forward in the push to defy the odds with a leap into business.
Shilunga turned to entrepreneurship to confront unemployment status.
“I could not secure a job after my graduation in 2017, and I started with the part-time sale of food in an informal settlement to keep myself busy and to help with my basic needs,” said the 30-year-old entrepreneur.
Over the years, business boomed as she diversified to home deliveries and other hospitality avenues. She said Hot Sauce Cafe is now her lifeline.
The move to register her entity with the local business registration authority in 2019 has enabled her to actively participate in local procurement bids and be successfully awarded for catering for major events and big companies.
Entrepreneurship is not limited to formal businesses.
In rural Namibia, Hilde Ndeya turned to trade in traditional and indigenous products.
The 52-year-old Ndeya said she was pushed into business by limited opportunities.
“Since 35, I sold legumes, pulses, and any product that spells tradition. In my village, when they need such, they call me,” Ndeya said from a far-flung in the northern part of Namibia.
“With business, I sustained our family. But it has also been about living my purpose and adding meaning to my life,” Ndeya said.
Over the years, the business also turned into a passion for promoting organic products. She has created links with women selling similar products in urban areas.
“I supply items to them when they run out of stock in towns.”
Despite reaping benefits from the business, there are still some challenges faced by the two women.
“Stereotypes about the ability of women to do business persist,” Ndeya said.
To Shilunga, gender discrimination prevails. They hope the government will enforce national policies to address the gender gap across all spheres of society. – Xinhua